SANBORNTON — For the 13th time, voters defeated a proposal to change to the Senate Bill 2 form of town government in town elections Tuesday.
The petitioned ballot question needed 60 percent of the vote to pass, but only received 49 percent of the vote Tuesday, said Town Moderator Patsy Wells.
Town Clerk Jane Goss said the vote was 335 in favor of changing to SB-2, and 352 against.
Town Meeting will be held on tonight at 7 p.m. at Sanbornton Central School. Because of the vote, the town meeting form of government will continue.
In a tight race for selectman, incumbent David Nickerson defeated Wells, his challenger. Nickerson had 348 votes, while Wells tallied 316.
The voter turnout was the highest in recent memory, Wells said.
Of 2,175 residents in town, 696, or 32 percent, came out to vote, she said.
“We usually have a good turnout,” she said. “Sanbornton takes its politics very seriously.”
The SB-2 question had been brought before voters 12 times in the nearly 20 years since state legislators permitted towns to let local voters make town decisions by paper ballot. Each time, Sanbornton residents have defeated the issue. Last year’s vote fell short by about 20 votes.
About a third of the state’s residents operatee under SB-2 rule, in which warrant articles dealing with budgets, town purchases and zoning articles are discussed and potentially amended at a deliberative session prior to voting at town polls.
Opponents of the proposal said SB-2 would take away town meeting, which is the most democratic system of government, they said. Backers of the proposal said it would promote more residents to vote, because many residents can’t make it to town meeting, they said.